Joe Nelson

Photo by Geoff L Johnson

With mandolin, fiddle, guitar, banjo, bass or ukulele, Joe Nelson has been entertaining audiences in his hometown of Savannah since 1975.
The versatile native has performed solo, in duos and for the past eighteen years with his group, the Glow in the Dark Stringband.

Joe’s ongoing exploration of our musical heritage has enabled an exceptional understanding of the three centuries of American music.
With old-time songs, fiddle tunes, mountain ballads, vintage country and hokum blues, his shows are a veritable musical history tour.

For this year’s centennial birthday celebration of Savannah’s most famous musician—Johnny Mercer—Joe has augmented his song list with a dozen classics from the pen of the noted lyricist. With a straight-forward vocal approach, Joe performs the songs backed only by his ukulele—an instrument that Mercer was known to have played while growing up in Savannah.

Joe has performed at all manner of venues including coffee houses, night clubs, dance floors, music festivals, historic sites and back porches.
Nelson has been a part of numerous area bands encompassing such varied styles as rock, old-time, blues and honky-tonk. He is also a member of the Florida-based Fishcamp Cutups and has played the state folk festival there since 1995.

Joe has provided music for local theater productions, serving as music director for The Grapes of Wrath and also for Cotton Patch Gospel.
A founder of the Savannah Folk Music Society, Joe was chairman of the Savannah Folk Music Festival for ten years.
The self-taught musician even served briefly as adviser for noted film-score composer Danny Elfman.



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